Two weeks ago, I went to Boston for seven days with my wife. This past week I was able to fly out to Colorado for a four-day trip with my son. Some of my take aways during that time:
Stick with the big airlines, where they tell you the fees up front. Ugh. Flying to/fro Boston, we used Delta. Flying to/fro Denver, we used Spirit and Frontier. And while the cost ended up being similar overall, jumping through hoops on my phone at the last minute to pay for carry on bags was no fun, as well as the unexpected fees I hadn’t planned on. You pay for what you get....
Same with rental cars....our Boston trip resulted in paying one price up front, quick pick up and getting a zero-due receipt upon dropping off said rental car. In Denver, on top of a million extra questions and hard sell for additional options that added several minutes to my counter time, I came back to $76 of unexpected fees, taxes, etc.
Airbnb is hit/miss for me. While our experiences were generally nice overall, staying in someone’s home, oftentimes with other people you do not know, can be weird. And while we’re working on being more communal, we’re still not completely used to the experience (the one in Longmont was the BOMB, though!).
Boston’s history, tourism, eateries and scenery are world-class. But their traffic sucks. Bad. Salem, Plymouth and Cape Cod were also exceptional, but without the vehicle congestion issues. But seriously, overall a great trip, including the Freedom Trail and all the attractions it included, Salem Witch Trial tours, the original Pilgrim settlement, an awesome time visiting lighthouses in Cape Cod, and some great food.
Longmont, Colorado has the friendliest community of people I have ever been around. Seriously, every person we met was super-nice and accommodating. Our Airbnb host had an alpaca ranch, which are some really cool animals, as well as a cat that took right up with us. We visited the local museum and a heritage culture farm to learn about the history unique to this region, along with enjoying some awesome mountain ranges. We spent a lot of time in Boulder enjoying some hikes, before coming back to Longmont for a tour of the Mr. Money Mustache Co-Work space, or what I refer to as the Mecca of the Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) community. Thanks to Carl, better known as Mr. 1500, for the tour. On our last day, Carl was nice enough to invite my son and me on a hike of a nice peak in Boulder along with two of his early retiree friends.
As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am on track to retire early after years of living below my means and saving/investing as much as possible. Getting to visit the Mr. Money Mustache Headquarters and hanging out with someone whose blog I have followed religiously on my journey really cemented this goal for me. Additionally, there is nothing like hanging out with three guys who have accomplished what you are aspiring to do and seeing how much they are enjoying life to motivate you towards toward your goal.
Finally, never lose your license/main source of identification, when you are out of town and flying back, as my son found out the hard way. While Denver’s TSA team were super cordial and helpful in resolving the issue in a timely manner, the added stress and time was something we would rather have avoided.
All in all, some great memories, experiences and time with people I care about and admire from afar. One thing I’ve learned on my financial independence journey by way of budgeting is that it is important to match your spending to you values. For me, I enjoy good food, travel and time with people I care about and respect. You can have the nice clothes, vehicles, big home, gadgets and toys. On that note, it’s time to start planning my next trip before heading out for a nice dinner!